An educational path you may be considering is an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In this case, your interest in helping others is likely a key reason why nursing is top of your list. But in addition to having this passion for service, you also must meet certain requirements for admission to the program. While some enrollment requirements will vary by college, there are many prerequisites they share, and understanding them will help you prepare to apply for an accelerated BSN program.
If you’re not quite sure what an accelerated BSN program entails, read this explainer to find out the ins and outs of the course.
What is an accelerated BSN?
This is a pre-licensure program available to those who have a bachelor’s degree in field other than nursing. It is designed to help you to complete a degree in less time as you already have the prerequisites in undergrad courses.
Getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing can help you move on to a master’s degree if you’re looking to further your education later. In the meantime, you can look forward to graduating from this college program to become a skilled nurse for individuals and families across the patient lifespan, including babies, kids, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Your work can be based in a range of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices.
To make sure that you are ready for the fast-paced program that can take under a year to complete, here are some helpful tips.
Meet the basic eligibility requirements
The most basic requirement for an accelerated BSN program is a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing area. It does not matter which field of study that degree is in, so long as you completed it and have the necessary Grade Point Average (GPA) score.
As this type of program is competitive, it typically requires at least a 3.0 GPA. The reason why is that the college admissions committee wants to know that you are likely to be successful in the program, and GPA is a good predictor of student success.
The program will also likely list a certain number of pre-requisite credits to complete before you start the program. You will probably have earned most, if not all, of them while completing your first degree. If not, though, then make it a priority to do so; that way, you can apply to the desired school by the admission deadline.
Colleges often also ask that you complete the HESI exam before applying to their accredited BSN program. This exam is designed to help prepare you for your professional licensure exam, so it helps admission panels to predict how well you will do in class.
The college may also have restrictions as to where you can live to be considered for admission. For example, you may need to live in a certain state or a particular part of that state. If you’re not sure about whether the college you plan to apply to has this requirement, then reach out to the program advisor for confirmation.
Foster good time management skills
In addition to getting your prerequisites in order, another way to prepare for an accelerated BSN program is to brush up on your time management skills. The program moves quickly, and some courses do not have breaks between semesters, so it’s important to be able to schedule school time and moments to decompress.
Maintaining a good balance between personal life and study time doesn’t come easy for some people, and if you know you’re one of them, then start to practice getting better at it now. Otherwise, if you do not make time to relax, then you risk getting burned out as a student, which can negatively affect your performance during the program.
You will also need to keep a calendar of due dates for assignments and exams so that you have time to prep for them. Doing so is easier when you choose distance-learning accelerated BSN nursing programs from Baylor University or another highly-ranked educational institution.
Online learning is more flexible than on-campus classes that require you to attend them at specific times. Instead, distance-learning courses enable you to study when you have time, such as after the workday ends, and you can do so from home, the library, or somewhere else.
As you plan to return to school, you will need to have the funds for tuition, if you are accepted to the BSN program. In addition to tuition costs, there will also be textbooks and other supplies to cover, as well as getting scrubs and covering transportation fees when you attend clinical placements.
If you already have the money ready, that’s great, but if not, then it’s time to get saving so you can reach your career goals. If possible, continue to work up until the program starts and during it as well. With an online program like the one from Baylor, you can fit homework and study time around your work shifts. That’s especially beneficial when your shifts fluctuate, starting and ending at different times throughout the week.
Final tip: Build a support system
A final way to prepare for an accelerated BSN program is to get a support system in place. Friends, family, and fellow students will all be important in helping you get through the program within a year.
Have a candid conversation with close friends and family members before starting school to let them know that you will need their help over the coming months. For example, if you have kids, inquire if your family or friends would mind occasionally babysitting so that you can get your homework done.
There is no shame in reaching out to others for help. They also might be able to provide advice, such as study tips, that could prove valuable during your time in the program. Finally, try to reach out to other students through online forums for your classes or other methods. Sharing your experiences and challenges can help you and the other students get through this rewarding, fast-paced experience together.